Celebriamo la vita vissuta

San Francesco da Paola, Eremita e fondatore – 2 aprile

San Francesco da Paola, Eremita e fondatore

2 aprile

Cosenza, 27 marzo 1416 – Plessis-les-Tours, Francia, 2 aprile 1507

La sua speciale vita fu avvolta in un’aura di soprannaturale dalla nascita alla morte. Nacque a Paola  in provincia di Cosenza nel 1416 da genitori in età avanzata devoti di san Francesco, che proprio all’intercessione del santo di Assisi attribuirono la nascita del loro bambino. Di qui il nome e la decisione di indirizzarlo alla vita religiosa nell’ordine francescano. Dopo un anno di prova, tuttavia, il giovane lasciò il convento e proseguì la sua ricerca vocazionale con viaggi e pellegrinaggi. Scelse infine la vita eremitica e si ritirò a Paola in un territorio di proprietà della famiglia. Qui si dedicò alla contemplazione e alle mortificazioni corporali, suscitando stupore e ammirazione tra i concittadini. Ben presto iniziarono ad affluire al suo eremo molte persone desiderose di porsi sotto la sua guida spirituale. Seguirono la fondazione di numerosi eremi e la nascita della congregazione eremitica paolana detta anche Ordine dei Minimi. La sua approvazione fu agevolata dalla grande fama di taumaturgo di Francesco che operava prodigi a favore di tutti, in particolare dei poveri e degli oppressi. Lo stupore per i miracoli giunse fino in Francia, alla corte di Luigi XI, allora infermo. Il re chiese al papa Sisto IV di far arrivare l’eremita paolano al suo capezzale. L’obbedienza prestata dal solitario costretto ad abbandonare l’eremo per trasferirsi a corte fu gravosa ma feconda. Luigi XI non ottenne la guarigione, Francesco fu tuttavia ben voluto ed avviò un periodo di rapporti favorevoli tra il papato e la corte francese. Nei 25 anni che restò in Francia egli rimase un uomo di Dio, un riformatore della vita religiosa. Morì nei pressi di Tours il 2 aprile 1507.

Patronato: Calabria, Naviganti, pescatori.

Etimologia: Francesco = libero, dall’antico tedesco

San Francesco da Paola, eremita: fondò l’Ordine dei Minimi in Calabria, prescrivendo ai suoi discepoli di vivere di elemosine, senza possedere nulla di proprio né mai toccare denaro, e di mangiare sempre soltanto cibi quaresimali; chiamato in Francia dal re Luigi XI, gli fu vicino nel momento della morte; morì a Plessy presso Tours, celebre per la sua austerità di vita.

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